Already on the board!
For some reason it still strikes me as odd that there's professional baseball in Arizona. I mean, there's all the spring training, and the Diamondback have been around for more than 20 years. But the Twins have only ever played 21 games against Arizona in their history. And only 9 of those have been in Arizona. At least, according to the very brief research I was willing to do.
I wonder if that's the fewest games against the Twins have ever played against a team? Nope, not willing to look that one up right now. We don't even have an Arizona Diamondbacks option for our game log image... so yeah. Not a real team. Or at least only marginally a real team.
Anyway, tonight Smeltzer goes against Bumgarner, and the Twins are gonna win in the desert.
No, really. You can go home now.
HOU @ BOS: Morton vs. Porcello (HOU up 2-1)
WAS @ CHC: Scherzer vs. Quintana (series tied 1-1)
CLE @ NYY: Bauer vs. Severino (CLE up 2-1)
LA @ ARI: Darvish vs. Greinke (LA up 2-0)
Lots and lots of high quality pitchers. I'll bet a couple of them even go 5 innings.
Cleveland kneecapped any chance of winning a Division crown. The hope for the rest of the season is to pile stats and maybe stay above .500.
Another day, another new Twins player. Its really getting hard to know who is on the roster and who isn't. Its Kennys Vargas back up? Lew Ford? Kent Hrbek? who knows!! I do know Mitch Garver comes to town. Hopefully he gets playing time.
Ervin Santana goes tonight. We got a chance.
The last time I watched a Twins game, Ricky Nolasco pitched his best game of the year, eight scoreless innings, and the Twins won, though Nolasco did not notch a Win. Nolasco will likely need to pitch just as well tonight to give the team a chance as the Diamondbacks send Josh Collmenter to the mound. Collmenter is 10-8 on the year with a 3.60 ERA and he's been dominating opponents for the last month or so. Of course, in the grand scheme of baseball this game means absolutely nothing to pretty much anybody, so we've got that going for us.
Congratulations to Kennys Vargas and Jose Berrios for winning Twins player and pitcher of the year honors, respectively. Vargas is one of the reasons I'm sort of excited for Gardenhire's last season as Twins manager next year. He hits baseballs like they stole food from his plate.
In other news, Aaron Hicks has been held out of the lineup for the last two games with a stiff back. It's our clearest indication yet that the young man possesses a spine. Now if somebody would just find his belly and light a fire in it...
The Arizona Diamondbacks are 13-4 since May 20, when they began a three-game sweep of our boys (and 18-5 back to May 14. I just wanted to point that out, because through April, the Snakes were 28th in MLB in FIP (just ahead of the Twins) and 26th in pitching WAR (the Twins were dead last). Now Arizona is in the hunt in the NL West, a half-game back of SF, thanks to much improved pitching (they were middle-of-the-pack in FIP, xFIP and pitching WAR in May).
The Twins ride into Cleveland on the wings of a four-game sweep of the Landed Gentlemen. Not exactly the 1927 Yankees there, but a feel-good weekend nonetheless. But if the Twins are going to make a move, now is the time to get it started, with a series win against the surprise division leaders.
Scott Baker (3.86 ERA, 4.06 FIP, 3.65 xFIP, 66:23 K:BB, 10 HR in 67 2/3)
Josh Tomlin (3.27 ERA, 4.33 FIP, 3.86 xFIP, 41:11 K:BB, 11 HR in 71 2/3)
Tomlin, a righty, has been riding the tiger in Cleveland. He's 7-2, thanks in significant part to best-in-the-majors run support (7.91 r/g), a .213 BAA and unsustainable .213 BABIP, despite not missing very many bats and having given up HRs at the same pace as our boy Scotty. He throws a pedestrian 2-seam fastball, cutter, curve and changeup and recently has been compared unfavorably to Phil Humber. If only we had some healthy, left-handed sluggers to put in the lineup against this Cinderella Story.... Go,
Red Wings Rock Cats!!!111one111!!!
If this were a season in which the Twins had lost fewer than two games for every game they've won, today's loss would probably be one of those Sunday roll-over games that doesn't sting too much. Heck, even this year, this is one of those that doesn't sting too much. From what I know of him, Dan Hudson has looked like a pretty good pitcher fairly consistently in his major league career so far, so it's not that shocking to see the Twins' bats shut down by him. And Liriano, while not as steady as last week in Seattle, was decent enough to be officially "Quality". Still, anyone who heard Alex Burnett was coming into a tie game in the seventh, and subsequently heard he'd given up the go-ahead run, should probably have responded with an "Of course, that happened."
Even after a weekend of disappointment and heartbreak, the Twins finished with a 3 and 4 road trip. Most years, you'd take a 3 and 4 road trip. Most weeks after you lose every game the previous week, you'd take a 3 and 4 road trip. If the Twins have any hope of being competitive at this point, though, 3 and 4 road trips probably need to turn into 4 and 3, 5 and 2, or maybe even more than that.
Hitter of the Week: I really want to be able to give this to a catcher again someday, so I'll just pick Rene Rivera.
Pitcher of the Week: Again, he wasn't his sharpest today, but he was okay, and he was great last week - Francisco Liriano had two quality starts, which was one more than anyone else.
And now begins the interleague preview.
The Twins have played the Diamondbacks three times. The most recent series was here in 2008, sweeping them. Livan out pitched Webb for the win in game 1. The Twins visited Arizona in 2005, winning the series 2-1, and again in 2004 with the same results. Their sole loss was a complete game by Randy Johnson. I guess Silva, Aaron Fultz, and Joe Roa weren't a good match against him. In 2003, the Twins lost the series 1-2, with the sole win coming from spot starter Santana. It was his final start for a month before he was permanently installed in the rotation.
Following the clear progression, I predict a sweep.